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Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
6/20/21 9:00 a.m.

Aww jeez, another Toyota?  Are you a masochist?  smiley

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/20/21 4:21 p.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/20/21 7:29 p.m.
docwyte said:

So does the new Sequioa tow better than the old one? 

I've been eyeing those ECS street shields but would want the bracing kit.  Which for some reason they say fits the GTI but doesn't fit the R, which I have.  My other option is to buy the VW one, which is sweet but costs $400, ouch!

It's going to be a few weeks before I can get it titled/plated, and I want to add airbags before I tow. But this thing is clearly much more powerful than the old one (also heavier), so I expect it will tow very well once I have it set up (including load range E tires on 18" wheels, which will be a first priority).

Yeah, I'm going to fab up some braces. It looks like it will be VERY easy to do since the frame rails are directly above and there are threaded bolts on the car I can use for attachment. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/20/21 7:30 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

Aww jeez, another Toyota?  Are you a masochist?  smiley

From the guy with Volvos and rotaries......good one! ;)

My 4Runner had ZERO issues in 5 years of ownership. The Sequoia has had very few issues (and none mechanical)....just more rust than I like. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/20/21 7:31 p.m.
bluej (Forum Supporter) said:

Some video from last weekend:





irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/20/21 7:42 p.m.

SO this weekend, since I'm getting my ass kicked in MR and also my e30 kill switch is non-functional, I decided to do something I've never done in 10 years of rallycrossing; RUN A SUBARU. I actually drove the Porsche up there, but not gonna play in the dirt with it just yet

Tom Gsell was nice enough to give me a seat in his 2.2 Impreza - 90hp, by far the slowest car in the class, but a great one to learn Subaru rallycross in.

On the first day the course was fast and open, and the lack of power hurt, but I still managed to hang around 6th or 7th in class (which had 11 cars, all of which were experienced MR drivers with more power). I also got to take a run in Adam Kimmett's multiple-championship-winning STi. Adam is an awesome rallycrosser (like 6 straight class championships) and stage rally driver. His car is super-fast, in a VIOLENT way.... BUT it has a fixed seat and Adam is 6'4 with long legs and arms. I had to do pedalwork with my tiptoes and drove with straight arms trying to see over the dash lol....felt like I was 4'6....BUT I did manage to lay down a time within a second of Adam's time on that run, so was pretty happy about that...

On the second day I was able to jump into several other peoples' MR cars, including Kris Hamilton's 350whp WRX (which I ran faster than he had all day), and Brian Battochi's stage rally impreza, which I promptly spun out with too much LTO on the very first turn, dropping me from 5th in class to 8th or 9th lol....

these two...

All in all, a lot of fun and really had to change my driving style running AWD, but reasonably pleased with how I did, considering this class is very experienced and fast (much like our MR class that I usually run in). Not gonna go buy another Subaru, though. RWD is still more fun :)

Here's some random pics I took today. Oh, and middle-aged lady brought her SL500 out today (she had track-day'd it the day before) and had some fun. That thing sounds GLORIOUS

And for once actually got to WATCH my usual MR classmates run, which was a lot of fun




irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/21/21 6:54 p.m.

So I hope you guys humor me for a bit as I do stuff to the new tow pig. I have a few rallycar projects and competition stuff upcoming, but at the moment I have a new toy so of course I have to do some things to it :)

First order of business today was to get my inspection and emissions so I can get title and plates for it. Went to my usual guy who has seen the old Sequoia for 10 years (never failed inspection, incidentally, he knows I take care of my stuff mechanically/safety-wise). He was highly impressed with the negligible rust on the frame....said he usually sees rusty ones.

So when I got home I dropped the spare tire since it was low on air (more accurately, almost totally flat) and tripping the TPMS light. From the looks of it, it is original, and has never been actually used. The wheel is a steelie and is pretty rusty too. I'll replace both of these when I get tires for the new wheels.

After that, I easily tracked down a heat shield rattle I noticed when driving it home. Like the old Sequoia, this one also had the shield bolts rust "out" of the shield itself. Someone had "secured" it with a ziptie at some point, which wasn't doing much good....

After that, checked out the frame more. It mostly looks like this.....clean but minor rust at welds. I also felt inside with my fingers and found no evidence of rust or paint chips. Totally clean inside the frame. YAY.

But, it can always be cleaner.....so I started the job of cleaning up any rusty spots and painting everything in POR-15. So today I did everything from the rear subframe back..The subframe and hitch area were really the only places that had any actual rust on them, so they got wire-wheeled first. then painted. 

Other random thing: in the gear compartment under the rear floor, I found an electric pump....from an Audi. Wonder it it's from the guy's wife's newish Q7 that was parked in his driveway...

One goal is to "delete" all the plastic chrome stuff.  I hate chrome on modern cars, and the Sequoia has chrome grille, badges, door handles, mirrors, and other stuff. The mirror caps pop right off and can be replaced for about $30 with body-colored ones. But that's $30 too much, so I popped them off, sanded, and painted and clearcoated them black. We'll see if it holds up. If not, I'll either repaint or buy some actual black ones down the road. 


java230 UberDork
6/21/21 10:33 p.m.

5.7 sequioa? Should be fun!

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/22/21 11:58 a.m.
java230 said:

5.7 sequioa? Should be fun!

Yep there's a little bit more about it on the page before since I picked it up last week and then posted a bunch of rally stuff after it lol

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
6/22/21 3:18 p.m.

Love the new tow rig. Are you going to put a roof platform on it like your previous Sequoia?
Your consistency with the rallycar is impressive - you don't have any epic come from behind stories, because you're so prepared that it just...works. Seems like it's nice to be able to just worry about driving without wondering if the whole thing's gonna fall to pieces on you.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/22/21 4:56 p.m.
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) said:

Love the new tow rig. Are you going to put a roof platform on it like your previous Sequoia?
Your consistency with the rallycar is impressive - you don't have any epic come from behind stories, because you're so prepared that it just...works. Seems like it's nice to be able to just worry about driving without wondering if the whole thing's gonna fall to pieces on you.

Hahah, yeah maybe it makes my thread boring compared to Chris's RX7/Merkur/BRZ rally car thread, because in past years he always has interesting drama, and it seems like all I ever write is "we went to a rally, we didn't drive fast enough, we didn't break anything, and now we're home" lol. 

As for the rig - YES. That's in the plans, though not immediately. I learned a lot when I built the Raider's rack so I think I can do one this time that's nicer (or "smarter") than the one on the old Sequoia - but it will be generally the same idea, but hopefully better since I have a plasma cutter now and lessons learned from building several racks. Still chewing on some ideas, but of course I'll post the build when I do it. First orders of business for this thing are some wheels/tires and other near-term necessities (not that there are too many), and also cheap/free things since now I'm making a car payment again (though my wife's CX-9 will be paid off when I sell the old one, so I'll get rid of a payment too). 

So, did do a few little projects today. Since it looks like I should have tags on this before the next towing need, guess it's time to start setting up the things I need for towing. So I uninstalled the Prodigy2 brake controller from the old rig and put it in this one. It's nice that it already has the Toyota plug on it, and the car-side plugin on the new truck is in the same place. However, I wanted to put the controller itself in a better place than below the dash as it was (also, the new truck has knee airbags, so can't put it there anyhow).

After a bit of measuring, I found a good spot in one of the "cubbies" in the lower center console. It's almost like Toyota made it for brake controllers, since it's almost perfect size. Had to do a bit of drilling to mount the controller bracket and run the harness, but that was easy. Also noticed the P/O installed a pair of quick-charge USB ports down there, which is really nice.

So here's the finished product. I like this location a lot, it's pretty much perfect.

I also proceeded with more chrome delete. This time the surround of the rear "Sequoia" badge (which is gray). I thought this might be a 2-piece assembly that I could separate and just vinyl wrap the chrome part, but no such luck, so mask and paint it is....

Incidentally, all the trim on the tailgate comes off IDENTICAL to the old Sequoia, which is nice since I've taken that one off like 20 times fixing the rear handle. However, Toyota did this time put an access hatch in it in case the handle breaks, you can get to it from the backside. The old one was REALLY a pain, since the panel wasn't easy to get off with the hatch closed. Good thinking, Toyota. Here's some pics of the inside, for anyone who is wondering.

Anyhow, finished product. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/22/21 9:36 p.m.

EDIT: sorry, double post

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/23/21 6:43 p.m.

I'm going to fully document the Sequoia build in its own thread going forward, for any of you who want to follow along on that one: https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/2010-sequoia-rally-supporttow-rig-fauxverlander-and-vacation-hauler/184602/page1/

But I'll hit on things I do here as well, in less detail. Today it was Hawk SD (Super Duty) pads all around and Air Lift airbags in the back.


irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/30/21 7:30 p.m.

So you may recall I mentioned that right after SOFR ended, we were in impound, and when I went to take the car to the trailer, the kill switch bit the dust. I only got it running by holding the key in one certain place and drove the car back that way. So, time to replace this one, which has been in the car for about 4-5 years.

I set it up initially so it would be easy to access/replace if needed at a service, so it didn't take long (though much sweating in this heat/humidity)

So short story shorter....the new switch is in now, and the car runs again


We are entered in the reschedule of the Rausch Creek Rallysprint (SCCA) in about 10 days, which should be fun. Entry so far is decidedly RWD-centric and curiously almost all the cars/drivers have similar ARA speed factors, so could be a close shootout, perhaps. I think we'll get at least a couple more RWD cars as well, including Jason Smith's e36.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/12/21 7:50 p.m.

Rausch Creek Rallysprint!

This event was already postponed twice earlier in the year, but this time it was a go! This is the first rallysprint at Rausch Creek Offroad Park, which has virtually endless terrain. The owner is fully onboard, and the Susquehanna SCCA guys have been working tirelessly for months with heavy equipment to make a great course that will only get better with more use. The course last weekend was about 1.3 miles, but they apparently have an additional 5+ miles of course already cut, just needs more clearning and smoothing. So this isn't SOFR's super-smooth dirt, this is more like the rougher stages at STPR and NEFR, which some may not like as much, but I enjoy. The rough stuff is a good equilizer between the high-power cars and lower-power cars.

The tow up there with the new tow rig was great, this thing is a nice upgrade from the old Sequoia. And then we used it for recce and got it dirty for the first time...

There were a handful of AWD cars (led by Adam Kimmett's impreza and a set-up Evo), but the biggest class was the under 2.5L 2WD class, which consisted of us

Our constant-rivals-at-every-event Chris and Sara in the BR-Z (incidentally also the team we baseline our performance against)

Adam Brock, cage-builder extraordinaire, in his Volvo 240, which has a wooden dash and hit a tree, broke the tree, broke a bumper, and then continued to rally

Alan Edwards in his Neon, who we've run against for years at WMWR (no photo, somehow)

An old-school SCCA Pro Rally 200SX that hadn't rallied in years but SENT IT hard anyhow

And an old RX-7.....oh how I hate the sound of RX-7s lol

The course was a lot of fun, with tons of linked turns, some nice big power sweepers, and a tight section through the woods full of 2's that I thought was great. Because they built the course with a big grader, most areas had a dirt/rock berm between the cars and trees, which I actually like. I can deal with breaking suspension if I mess up and hit a rock. I'm less a fan of hitting trees, so the bermed setup gave me confidence to really hammer down in areas I'd likely back off some if they were direct to trees. We even used a few of them for assistance a few times lol (luckily none wiht big rocks in them). There were some little jumps as well that the car seemed to handle fine other than one where I brake-checked too late and nose-dived it. 

I thought the car was feeling great and the course was a blast. After the lunch-break re-rack, we were sitting in 4th overall (behind Kimmett and the Evo and right behind Nonacks). There wasn't live timing, so no idea how far back we were from Nonack (as it turns out, we were 5 seconds back). I figured we were pretty close, so tried to push a bit harder in the shorter afternoon session. A couple runs in we came off course and heard a bad clunking from the front that I couldn't immediately figure out what it was from, but I could feel it over every little bump even when moving to the start line. Fearing something disastrous, I backed off and took it easier on that run, which cost us some time (by the looks of things, maybe 6 or 7 seconds). Then after we finished, Jim and I sprinted back to the service area in full race gear (so sweaty) to grab some tools from my roll and Nonack's box, and quickly identified the culprit as the upper left strut nut coming VERY loose. I had marked them with paint, so I could see it had rotated. Other side was tight, so not sure what happened. So we cranked it back down and hit the next run, problem solved. 

The rest of the runs were uneventful other than me using some berms to avoid a recently-appeared large rock, and once the final results were revealed, we ended up 2nd in class behind Chris and Sara by 13 second or so, though the two final runs we ran identical times and we did beat them on a couple runs as well. All in all, we were +/- 3 seconds of each other on every one of the 13 runs for the day, which is pretty crazy, and neither of us made any significant time-eating mistakes, it seems. The time lost on the loose nut woudln't have made up the time difference anyhow, so that's good. We finished 4th overall, beating all of the AWD-over-2.5L cars as well, as it turns out. 

May be an image of 4 people, including Chris Nonack, people standing and outdoors

A quick post-race inspect didn't reveal any obvious damage or issues with the car and overall I'm very happy with how well it held up to a course that definitely had some rough spots (Alan and Daniel managed to break two wheels sliding into rocks and one of the Subies broke its rear suspension somehow). They expect to have another event here in a couple months, with the course improved and possibly longer, so looking forward to that.

Then loaded up and headed home (did I mention the new tow rig makes towing effortless and totally non-stressful?)


A recently-posted photo of us at SOFR, on the entry off the gravel onto tarmac, where all the e30s were getting real sideways :)

also, courtesy of the 2wd meme page and the Nonacks....

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
7/12/21 8:12 p.m.

Hey, that's Gusmano in the RX-7.  Met up with him at the RX we held at the Nationals site.  Did they get the drivability sorted?  At the RX they had fuel pressure regulator issues, so they bypassed it, so the engine was glugging on fuel and between that and the misfires they had a bright orange cat in grid.


The course sounds awesome!  Like a snow event with the berms you can bounce off of if need be.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/12/21 8:23 p.m.

Yep, I think they sorted it out and made all their runs, though they were working on the car constantly.

I hope they have a winter event here, it would be awesome.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
7/12/21 8:33 p.m.

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

I can see them constantly wrenching, there are a lot of reliability mods with respect to cooling and ignition that it DOESN'T have.

The relative nearness of these events makes me wish for a caged car so I can try it out.  Definitely not an RX-7 though.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/13/21 9:35 p.m.

Post-rally inspection today revealed no damage anyhwere. However, I checked out the coilovers up front since we had that loose top nut. The retigtened top nut was fine on the driver's side, but the "safety nut" on the bottom (which is just there to prevent the piston from backing out of the threaded hole on the body) was missing. So replaced that and moved to the passenger side. The nut was there but very loose, so i decided to tighten it up. Unfortunately, I forgot it was just there as a locking nut, not as the primary fastener for the piston....and.....I must have muscled it too much and snapped off the stud....

This presents a secondary problem in that now there is no way to loosen the threaded part, since the top of the stud that broke off is where the hex key goes...

Well E36 M3. No huge deal about the broken insert itself, since I just ordered a pair of spare/replacement ones from Ireland (should be here in a couple weeks). But getting the old one out would prove to be a problem.

After trying a variety of tools, punches, trying to cut a groove in it to use a screwdriver, and drilling a small hole and trying to jam a star-driver into it....no dice on any of them. So I had to drill it out, which is not easy since it's like 4" inside the bottom of the strut assembly, and small drill bits are mostly too short.

After much cursing. finally got it drilled out

Unfortunately, it was nearly impossible to keep it perfectly straight, and the hole itself is now slightly ovaled and no longer fully threaded. I think I shoul djust be able to tack a weldnut on the bottom and thread the new piston into that without issue.....I can't really think of any other way to do it short of some kind of sleeve, which would be really hard to install since you can't really access the area easily.

And this is why I rarely do "checks" on this car....everytime I do, seems it turns out worse than it started :/

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/13/21 9:51 p.m.

Also, final results:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
7/14/21 9:51 a.m.

You may be able to drill it out larger for an insert?  Helicoil or similar.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
7/14/21 12:28 p.m.

Scott Harvey?

TurnerX19 UltraDork
7/14/21 1:48 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

I was wondering about that myself, there was a Scott Harvey that rallied a 1st gen Plymouth Barracuda with great effect in the 1960s. He'd have to be in his 80s now.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
7/14/21 2:54 p.m.

In reply to TurnerX19 :

I know of a Scott Harvey who co drove for his dad in the 70s.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/24/21 8:36 p.m.

New strut insert arrived sometime in the middle of the night last night from Ireland, so got to putting the suspension back together

You may recall I cut an "access hole" in the lower body to access the nut and threaded area. When I drilled out the old stud I definitely was a bit off-center but put the new one in and it seems as if there's enough thread wrap to still tighten up the lower insert stud with an allen key. I put a new outer nut on it and snugged that down and tacked it into place so it won't come off easily (but can still probably pop it off with an impact if I have to at some point.

Then welded up the access hole in the body and put everything back together. 

So, other than refilling the oil and transmission fluid, car should be good to go for whatever the next event is. 

For those not following my (admittedly not all that interesting) tow rig build thread, I also finished up my new roof rack, which I scratch-built this time. I think it came out pretty good...still have to wire up the lighting, once I decide where I want to bring the wiring through the roof. 

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